Farmers in Victoria welcome new animal welfare regulations

New animal welfare regulations imposing on the spot fines for mulesing sheep without pain relief and leaving dogs in extreme heat exposure have been introduced in Victoria.

The updated regulations come as a timely welcome as Australia prepares itself for one of the hottest, and driest summers on record with much of the East Coast expecting temperatures in the mid to high 40’s this week. 

The new rules were announced following an extensive consultation that attracted more than 2,000 submissions and will better protect the welfare of Victorian animals.

The updated Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (POCTA) Regulations are now in effect with Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Jaclyn Symes, stressing the importance of animal welfare. 

“Whether they’re domestic or farmed, animals are important to so many Victorians – these updated regulations are a step forward in ensuring that our animals are being treated fairly and respectfully,” said Minister Symes.

“From banning dogs being left in cars when it’s over 28°C to pain relief when mulesing sheep, these regulations will make sure everyone living and working with animals knows how to keep them safe and free from pain.”

The new regulations will replace the existing 2008 POCTA Regulations and include improvements on:

  • Animal transportation and tethering requirements
  • Confinement of animals in vehicles on hot days
  • Use of pain relief for mulesing of sheep
  • Sale and use of appropriate fruit netting to protect wildlife
  • Operational and administrative processes for rodeos
  • Scientific procedure record-keeping, the sourcing of animals, and training of Animal Ethics Committee members.

Specific rules relating to farmers include on the spot fines of $413 to anyone who leaves animals unattended inside a motor vehicle for more than 10 minutes on days when the temperature is 28 degrees Celsius or above.

Other regulations impose fines of:

  • $661 for transporting animals without access to water for longer than the times specified in the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines, which vary from 24 to 48 hours depending on the type of livestock;
  • $495 for transporting any farm animal unable to bear weight on all limbs, unless accompanied by a veterinary certificate that states it is fit for transport; and
  • $330 for transporting farm animals in passenger vehicles

Victorian Farmers Federation’s Livestock Group president Leonard Vallance welcomed the news, saying that concerns over the practicality of the regulations were misplaced.

“I don’t think it’d concern most farmers and a metal tray can get bloody hot,” said Mr Vallance.

“I’ve seen these poor dogs in utes parked out front of the roadhouse, while they’re owners are inside. Perhaps we should get owners to drop their pants and sit down on the tray to get the dog’s perspective on what it’s like.”



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